submitted by g0st
how you lay out your pages?
Well, usually by the time I'm ready to start a new page I have it made up in my head already so I don't really start off with thumb- it starts off with me just trying to get something close to it on "paper".. I open a new layer and just start scribbling and blocking out shapes until things start getting a little too messy...then I open a new layer over that one and trace over whatever "correct" lines and shapes and such from my scribble layer...then trash the messy one..after that it's putting down blobs of digital paint...I usually start out with the plan of kinda doing the whole page at the same time..
what brushes you use?
I have a ton of brushes I never ever use...I don't know how many exactly but I'd have to say that if I had 1000 brushes I use 3 consistently (2 from a Marta Dahlig brush pack I got thru an issue Imagine Fx ...and one made from a method Jason Seiler shared on one of his dvds)...outside of that I would say there are maybe another 5 I use here and there for texturing and such
what your painting process is from start to finish (especially the finish part)?
I do everything in black/white/greys because I find it keeps you focused on nailing your values/light/shadow/positive & negative space/composition without worrying about keeping your colours and such consistent from panel to panel...(I find its much easier to handle colours as their own separate session...this method, for me, also gives me more flexibility as far as adjusting colours) ..doing things in black and white first is also good because I use the dodge and burn tools alot and I find that whenever you try to use them over colours you get this weird, kinda blue, artifacting going on...I end up doing things on alot of layers but only ever have about 4 layers going on at a time (foreground..middleground..background..and whatever layer I'm drawing on)..What I mean to say is: I'm constantly opening new layers to work on things, but as soon as I get them they way I want them I merge them down and open a new layer to refine that part some more, then merge down, etc...(its a habit I got into from having started out on a really crappy laptop computer that couldn't handle having too many layers going at once)...as I make more and more passes as I refine the page I'm constantly flipping the canvas horizontally to check for general wonkiness..and I'm also constantly using the Liquify Filter to fix problems (like one eye being too low..or an ear too big)...eventually it's time to colour and I do that thru Overlay, Soft Light, or Colour layers...then I go back thru with Normal layers of colour to tighten up things...and any Adjustment layer stuff I do I always do it thru clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Layers pallet and not the drop down menu since it gives you the handy layer mask that can keep you from making some awful mistake...and when I think it's done, I stop working on it but keep it up on the screen while I answer emails or do whatever online and just stare at it from time to time and start to see all the little things I need to fix...fix them...go to bed...come back to it..see all the other stuff that needs to be fixed..fix them...(I really reccomend putting away a piece for a few hours then coming back to it instead of sending it off as soon as you finish)
and how long it usually takes you to finish a page?
it depends...usually about 2 to 3 days depending on how many panels/people/buildings and things are going on... (buildings and such always seem to take me a long time for some reason...)
As for brushes, do you usually start out with a simple hard round with your opacity/flow control set to pen pressure? I usually do, and I use the texture and "effects" brushes for last.
I use this Ragged Hard Round brush from this link all the way at the bottom of the page [link]
(but the whole brush set is great)...and just go back and forth with the opacity..but even at 100% it won't leave a solid colour which is nice....the only brush I use with pen pressure turned off is just the default hard round with pen pressure clicked off and I use that for doing perspective lines...(since doing the push at start point, press shift, push at endpoint way of doing them with pen pressure on always fades the line before it gets to the endpoint)
It's especially fascinating to hear how you just dive into a page, so to speak, without much planning. I usually go through 3 or 4 thumbnails/layouts (or more) per page till I find something I'm happy with, and THEN get to the stage you were talking about, blocking things in & whatnot (after it's all drawn out with correct perspective/anatomy etc.).
Well for me, I'm usually still working on a page when Johnny & Tony send the next script...so I'm already thinking about what I'm going to be drawing in the future for a few days before I even get to those pages, so by that point I pretty much have everything "shot" in my head already
I guess that brings me to my last question: What specifically do you look for when you're "fixing" your work? For example, when you come back to it, what are some of the most common errors you find you make?
well, it's alot like flipping the image..if you take some time away away from the image and then come back with fresh eyes alot of the mistakes will just jump out at you...most of what I find error-wise are obvious things that I somehow forgot like having the same number of buttons on a jacket from panel to panel and also seeing that certain elements aren't up to the same level as others...like, when doing a somewhat realistic style like I do you find that everything has to be that same level of "real"..you can't have one face looking a 9 and the next panel that face is only at a 7 because by comparison to the first face it's going to wind up looking like a 5...so alot of the post stuff is just bringing up elements to the same standard...outside of that , the post/clean-up session is just bringing elements forward or subduing other elements either thru colour manipulation, value adjustments,and whatnot...
What's the most effective way you've found for checking errors and kind of "policing" your own work?
just coming back with fresh eyes...
And how much time do you usually allow for this stage before sending it off?
if its just a single pin-up image I'll usually send it off right after my touch up session (otherwise the longer I look at it the more I start to hate it and will try and start over) if it's comicbook stuff I hold onto it till all the pages are done because I can then keep going back and tweeking stuff or adding things